Dogs earn Advanced CGC Titles, Sept. 2017

Advanced Canine Good Citizen, CGCA, Michigan Dog Training


On September 28, 2017 five dogs earned their American Kennel Club (AKC) Advanced Canine Good Citizen titles at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  Congratulations to the following dog teams:

  1. James Bowling with Bella, Labrador Retriever of Plymouth, Michigan
  2. Barbara Mays with DJ, Hound mix of Commerce Township, Michigan
  3. Andrew Rasky with Titan, German Shepherd Dog of Canton, Michigan
  4. Charles and Soraya Vaughn with Remi, German Shepherd Dog of Detroit, Michigan
  5. Bruce and Nancy Winkler with Dakota, Black English Labrador of Plymouth, Michigan
James Bowling, CGCA, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan


CGCA, Barbara Mays, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan


CGCA, Michigan Dog Training, Andrew Rasky, Plymouth, Michigan, German Shepherd Dog

Titan CGCA

Soraya Vaughn, German Shepherd Dog, CGCA, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan


Bruce and Nancy Winkler, English Black Labrador, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, CGCA

Dakoda CGCA

Rosebud -SDIT earns Adv. CGC

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Service Dog, Service Dog in Training, Mobility Service Dog, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Advanced CGC, Community Canine Good Citizen

On February 25, 2017, Rosebud a Golden Retriever and her handler Laura-Jean Siggens of Ann Arbor, Michigan earned the American Kennel Club Advanced Canine Good Citizen title at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan.

Rosebud is is participating in MDT’s Train Your Own Service Dog (TYOSD) program as a Mobility Service Dog. The TYOSD consists of 24 private and group class lessons and prepares dogs to become a Service Dog. Congratulations to Rosebud and Laura-Jean!

Dash earns CGCA title

Michigan Dog Training, Service Dog, Diabetic Alert Dog, CGCA , Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Plymouth, MichiganOn November 26, 2016, Dasher Inglis (Dash) a Golden Doodle and Service Dog – Diabetic Alert Dog in training earned her Advanced Canine Good Citizen title at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. Congrats to Dash and her parents!

Dash and her parents are participating in MDT’s Train Your Own Service Dog program and is doing extremely well.  She has already alerted on her mom’s low blood sugar level in real life applications. As part of that training, Dash has also learned to retrieve her mom’s emergency kit should she need to self medicate.

May 2016 Advanced CGC Dogs


Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, CGCA

Advanced Canine Good Citizen

On May 26, 2016 three dogs and their owners passed the American Kennel Club’s Community Canine Good Citizen evaluation also known as the Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  To prepare for the CGCA, the dog teams practiced their new skills in MDT’s Advanced Manners/Therapy Dog Prep. class.  Congratulations to the following:

  • Kris Wolfe and Rosie Gella, a Golden Retriever of Livonia, Michigan
  • Marcy Rodwick and Philo a Weimaraner of Plymouth, Michigan
  • Sara Cosgrove and John (Bubba) Scripps with Merry Scripps, a Pit mix of Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michigan Dog Training, CGCA, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Plymouth, MichiganMichigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, CGCAMichigan Dog Training, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Plymouth, MichiganMichigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Advanced Canine Good Citizen


Train your dog and earn an AKC Title

Canine Good Citizen, American Kennel Club, Michigan Dog Training

Michael Burkey, CGC Evaluator

Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan has developed a new banner promoting the American Kennel Club’s Puppy S.T.A.R., Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine Good Citizen (CGCA), and the Urban Canine Good Citizen (UCGC) titles. These titles are open to mix and purebred dogs and are a great way to motivate dog owners to train their dogs to the next level of obedience training and to instill responsible dog ownership.

MDT has structured its dog training group classes around the testing requirements for each of the below described titles.  Upon successfully completing the requirements for each, owners can showcase their dog’s accomplishment by having their photo taken in front of the banner which will be published on MDT’s Facebook page and submit their paperwork and accompanying nominal fee to the AKC for an impressive looking title.  Additionally, owners can then use the appropriate abbreviations behind their dog’s name to reflect the title they have earned. The AKC requirements for each title are listed below.

Puppy Manners Group Class / Puppy S.T.A.R.

After your pup has participated in six weeks of training (thus MDT evaluates dogs at the completion of the Puppy 2 class) he or she is eligible to test for the AKC S.T.A.R. (Socialization, Training, Activity, Responsibility) Puppy program.


The owner must:

1. maintain the puppy’s health and provide documentation

2. receive the CGC Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge

3. describe their dog’s adequate daily play and exercise plan

4. attend at least six puppy classes (by an approved CGC Evaluator-which we have at MDT)

5. bring bags to classes for cleaning up after their puppy

6. obtained some form of ID for the puppy such as a collar tag, microchip or tattoo.

The puppy’s behaviors must be:

7. Free of aggression toward people during the puppy classes

8. Free of aggression toward other puppies in the class

9. Tolerate collar or body harness of owner’s choice (no electronic collars)

10. Willing to have their owner hug or hold them (depending on size)

11. Allow their owner to take away a treat or toy.

Additionally, the puppy must show pre-Caine Good Citizen behaviors such as:

12. Allow petting by a person other than their owner

13. Allow owner to handle and exam their ears and feet

14. Walk on a leash in a straight line for 15 steps

15. Walk by other people who are approximately 5 feet away

16. Sit on command (owner may use a food lure)

17. Down on command (owner may use a food lure)

18. Come to owner from five feet away when their name is called

19. Show a good response to distractions that are presented fifteen feet away from the puppy

20. Stay on leash with another person while the other walks ten steps away and returns.

Intermediate Manners / Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

The Intermediate Manners dog class prepares you and your dog for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluation at the conclusion of the class. The evaluation is open to mix and purebred dogs. To earn a title, your dog must be registered with the American Kennel Club so that your dog’s titles can be recorded in the AKC official records. If you purchased your dog from an AKC listed breeder, you should’ve been given paperwork to register your dog with the AKC. If you don’t know your dog’s pedigree, you can request a Purebred Alternative Listing. And, if your dog is a mix breed, you can register him/her as an AKC Canine Partner.

The evaluation has ten components:

1. Accept a friendly stranger who approaches and shakes hands with the handle but does not touch the dog

2. Sitting politely for petting

3. Appearance and acceptance to grooming such as brushing and having his/her ears and front feet touched

4. Out for a walk which includes right, left and about turns along with a stop

5. Walking through a crowd close to several people (the dog may show casual interest but may not jump up on people)

6. Sit and down on command and handler chooses to leave their dog in either a sitting position or laying down position and goes to the end of a 20 foot line and returns to their dog immediately

7. Coming when called out of the position from number six for a distance of ten feet

8. Reaction to another dog; two handlers and dogs approach each other, the handlers shake hands, exchange pleasantries and move on. The dogs can show casual interest but not leave their handler to greet the other dog

9. Reactions to distractions such as a loud closing door or a runner running past the team in which the dog may not panic or show aggression

10. Supervised separation whereas handler goes out of sight for three minutes. The dog is held on a six foot leash by an evaluator.

Advanced Manners / Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA)

The Advanced manners dog class prepares a dog for the Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA).

To pass the CGCA:

1. The dog must stand, sit or lie down and wait under control while the owner sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork or wait while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person

2. Dog walks on a loose leash in a natural situation and does not pull while making a left turn, right turn, stop, and walk at a fast and slow pace

3. Dog walks on a loose leash through a crowd

4. Dog walks past distractions and does not pull such as other dogs who are 2 feet apart or past other dogs in a hallway

5. Sit stay in small circle group (three other people with dogs) with dogs on leash on their handler’s left side and three feet apart from other dogs

6. Dog allows person who is carrying something such as a backpack or computer bag to approach and pet it

7. “Leave it” whereas the dog walks by food and follow handlers instruction to leave it

8. Down or sit-stay at a distance whereby the handler leaves the dog, walks out 20 feet, picks up an item and returns to their dog

9. Recall with distractions present

10. Dog will sit or stay stay (handler’s choice) while handler enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway.  Handler calls dog through door when ready.  Handler may choose to send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the handler, or, the handler may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the handler’s side.  Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

Advanced Manners/ Urban Canine Good Citizen (CGCU)

A student may retake the Advanced Manners class to prepare their dog for the Urban CGC (CGCU) evaluation.

It also has ten components:

1. Exit/enter doorways with no pulling in dog friendly buildings,

2. Walk through a crowd on a busy urban sidewalk where people are walking fast and coming toward the dog (1 foot away) and be able to tolerate distractions such as people wearing hats, coats, men, women, etc.

3. Appropriate reaction to city distractions including movement, noises and walking on a variety of surfaces such as horns, sirens, construction noise, person yelling, skateboards, bikes, carts, person running, on various surfaces (concrete, grate, grass, plastic tarp, wet sidewalk, etc.

4. Crossing street; stopping at corner, stand or sit to wait and cross with no pulling, and crosses street under control

5. Ignores food on sidewalk

6. Person walks up and pets dog while carrying something (item is not set down such as in the CGCA)

7. Public Building, dog walks under control on slick surfaces or carpeted floor, does a down stay in lobby or outdoor area or waits while handler has a meal or snack

8. Goes up and down stairs, steps or elevator under control

9. House trained for apartment, condo, city living

10. Transportation savvy such as being able to enter/exit and ride in a car, subway or dog friendly cab under control.

The evaluations are held on the last night of each class.  There is no fee for students to take the evaluation.  Non-students may also take the fee for a nominal charge of $20.00. Don’t delay, sign up now for a puppy or dog group training class.


Bullmastiff Earns CGC

Bullmastiff, CGC, Canine Good Citizen, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

Seamus, CGC

Bullmastiff, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan canine good citizen, cgc, mdt

Seamus and Andrew

On March 26, 2015, Seamus a Bullmastiff and his owner Andrew Martin of Whitmore Lake, Michigan earned the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. Andrew first came to training because Seamus was fearful of other dogs. Through private dog training lessons with Michael Burkey, Seamus gained the confidence he needed to be able to relax around other dogs, not be afraid of his grandfather’s walker, and to take walks in downtown districts. Seamus is now able to go more places and enjoy life like he should with his buddy Andrew.

In May, Seamus and Andrew will return to MDT to take the Intermediate Manners dog training class to prepare for the Advanced Canine Good Citizen title. We are certain Seamus will pass that with flying colors as well.  Congrats to Seamus and Andrew for their excellent work together!

Dog Training Basics; what you need to know

Dog training is an art and a science. But what are the dog training basics to get one started on the right paw so to speak?

422_simoneandmikeaftertrainingfindwebFirst and most importantly, before basic obedience is taught to your dog; you need to establish a loving and engaging relationship with your dog. It’s a given that everyone loves their dog.  But not everyone is engaged with their dog and vice versa.  To be engaging with our dogs is to attract their attention and interest as well as to be able to maintain that attention despite distractions in the environment. Many times this is very challenging. The environment offers many high value distractions such as other dogs, strangers, birds, squirrels, vehicles, bikes, and children, to name a few. How is it that we can compete with those distractions? It starts with becoming everything to your dog.

You want to become your dog’s “everything”.

1. Train your dog with his everyday kibble. Instead of feeding your dog it’s food for free out of a bowl, place the portion in a zip lock bag and use it for training.  This way your dog will be dependent upon you for its food, will learn to work with you to obtain its food and you don’t have to buy as much expensive treats to use for training. Plus it’s healthier for your dog.  You can save the tasty treats when competing with stronger distractions. Additionally, if you are interrupted from training and your spouse your child comes home and sees there is still food in the Monday zip lock bag, they can continue the training with your dog.

2. Teach your dog “eye attention”. Everyone wants their dog to pay attention to them but if there’s no reward in that, they’ll look away to other things in their environment.  Start in a room with no distractions.  Place some of your dog’s kibble in your fist. Move the fist toward your dog’s nose and bring your fist up in front of your face. Be sure to stand straight and tall or sit up straight in a chair when doing this so you aren’t bending over your dog and unintentionally pushing them backwards. Smile at your dog and when he looks at your face, mark it by saying “yes” and give him the kibble. Repeat several times.  At first, reward upon his first glance at your face. Later, mark with the word “yes” after he’s held the stare at your face for five, ten or fifteen seconds. It doesn’t matter if he’s sitting, standing or laying down for this exercise.  All that matters is that he looks up at your face. It also teaches him that people staring at him is a good thing because it results in obtaining his food.



3. Teach your dog to chase and touch your hand. Place the kibble in one hand and extend an open hand to your dog.  Place the open hand right next to his muzzle.  When he turns his head to investigate and touches your open hand, mark it by saying, “yes” and deliver some kibble to him from the other hand. All he has to do is twist his head to touch your hand. As he gets more insistent on touching your hand, challenge him by moving the hand further away from him.  Note, it’s helpful if he is standing for this exercise as some dogs who are sitting or laying down will think, “I can’t reach your hand because I’m on a sit stay.” When he moves toward your hand and touches it again with his snout, mark the behavior with the word “yes” as before and give some kibble from the other hand.

As your dog’s confidence increases with this exercise, move your hand from one side in front of you to the other so that he begins to chase the hand. Make him miss the hand by taking the hand back the other direction. This will motivate him to speed up and chase your hand with more enthusiasm. As he catches the hand, mark and deliver the food as before. Now you have made the obtaining food to be a fun chase game instead of simply being given food for free. You can also use this new skill as a way to direct your dog into some position. For example, say your dog comes to you but not close enough for you to put his leash on his collar.  If he knows the “touch” game, you can say touch and have him come all the way into you allowing you to place the leash on his collar. It is also helpful when you want to turn your dog’s head away from the Veterinarian during a health exam.

4. Teach your dog to fetch balls and toys. If your dog isn’t a natural retriever, place the ball or toy on a rope and entice him to chase the moving object. Upon him catching the prey object, play a little tug with him (note playing tug does not teach aggression contrary to what most people believe as long as it’s played correctly at a low intensity) and let him win.  If he drops the item, snatch it away and the fun chase game begins again.  If he wants to hang onto the toy, offer a trade such as a tasty treat with the paired command to “out” or “give”. If your dog has no interest in the toy on a rope, pet stores sell toys that you can stuff tasty treats inside that will entice him to chase so that he can catch and eat his tasty treat. However, if your dog loves chasing balls but wants to turn it into a keep away game, play with two balls.  Introduce one ball for him to chase. As he picks it up, show him you have a second ball (exact same kind) and entice him to come get it which you then throw behind you for him to chase. He will probably drop the first ball on his way to you to go chase the second moving ball.  Then you can pick up the first ball and start the game all over again. This way your dog learns that coming toward you, instead of away from you, results in fun games of fetch.

5. Run away from your dog. Make it a fun game for your dog to chase you to get tasty treats, balls, or massages upon him catching you.  If he gets loose outside, don’t chase him. You’ll never catch him. Instead, get his attention and run away from him. He’ll instantly think wow, mom/dad wants to play and he’ll chase you down. Remember, you’re competing with strong distractions outdoors so don’t be afraid to run away and fall on the ground. Your dog will come running to you to pounce on you.

6. Get your dog to walk into your space. When I want to move my dog, I get him to move into my space. It’s much less threatening for him than me moving into his space. By moving away from my dog for him to obtain what he wants, I can influence and control his movements.

7. Don’t get a second dog to entertain your first dog. If you’re looking to get a second dog, don’t get it to act as a baby sitter for the first dog. Its true friendly dogs love to play with each other and it might offer you a relief from having to entertain your dog during the day. However, you don’t want the two dogs to bond so close to each other that they would prefer to spend time with each other rather than with you. You want each dog to prefer engaging with you because you’re their everything.  So if you’re looking to get a second dog, be sure its for you and not for your dog. Upon getting the second dog, be sure to still spend quality and frequent time with each individually as well as with them together. You also want to make sure the first dog is trained to your satisfaction prior to adding the second dog. Otherwise, you’ll end up with two untrained dogs.

Socialization is Key

DADSchoolpresentation20130214OakleydemoProperly socialize your dog with other dogs, people, and environments. Pair fun things for your dog to do such as eating tasty treats or playing tug while encountering new experiences. You want him to learn that fun things happen when he sees these potential triggers.  While doing this, be mindful of his space (distance) to the triggers.  Distance is your friend. Its ok for your dog to be challenged but not overwhelmed by the new experience. Enroll your puppy in a Puppy Basic Manners or Puppy Basic Obedience class so you can learn the right way to socialize your puppy or dog.

Basic Obedience

Most dogs’ ability to learn is only limited by the owner’s time and imagination. Dogs pick up on our movements and remember patterns. So be careful in not only what you teach your dog but also what you don’t intend to teach them. For example, as a K9 Police Officer, my dog liked to jump up on the high school metal door bars to open the door for us. And, because it was cute, I let her. However, one day when she was running downstairs to the basement in my home, I suddenly realized what was about to happen.  The basement wood door was closed and yes, K9 Draco removed it from its hinges in one quick jump. Another example of what not to do is when she was a 13 week old puppy. Draco liked to climbed up my legs and body and sit on my shoulder much like a parrot. Again, it was cute until the day when she was about 65lbs and tried to accomplish the same feat. A 65lb Belgian Malinois with claws trying to sit on my shoulder was not what I had in mind when she was a cute little puppy. So be careful what you teach them to do without realizing it.

Every family dog should be trained to be a good companion. To that end, the American Kennel Club has two great programs called the Canine Good Citizen test and the Advanced Canine Good Citizen test. The first encompasses intermediate dog obedience skills such as walking on a loose leash, sitting, laying down, staying in place, accepting petting from a friendly stranger, etc. The second evaluation takes those skills to the next level and has the dog perform them in community settings such as taking a walk in a park, passing other dogs in a crowded hallway, staying in place in close proximity to other dogs, etc. To start your dog’s education, teach him to sit, come when called, walk on a loose leash, to lay down and to sit-stay and/or down-stay.


 (Note, the CGC and CGCA are now titles instead of certificates and some of the rules have changed since making of this video)


Training a dog isn’t easy and it doesn’t come natural for most folks. It is an art and a science. That is why most people benefit from working with a professional dog trainer like those found at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. They can help you train your dog to become an ideal companion. They will help you practice and learn the three basic dog training principles:

  1. Become your dog’s “everything” – be engaging to your dog.
  2. Socialization is key so you can take your dog to more exciting places.
  3. Teach your dog basic and advanced obedience so he can become your ideal companion.


Here is a video explaining the Advanced Canine Good Citizen program by the American Kennel Club.

Golden Retriever earns Advanced CGC title at Michigan Dog Training

Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Michigan Dog Trianing

Casey CGCA

Casey, a Golden Retriever went from being reactive toward other dogs to earning an Advanced Canine Good Citizen (CGCA) title at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. On September 13, 2014, Rose and John Clark and their dog Greystone Crooked Lake Casey (CASEY) of Brighton, Michigan; passed the CGCA title administered by Michael Burkey, President and Dog Behaviorist at MDT.

The CGCA is an advance title that goes above and beyond the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title. The evaluation further tests the dog teams ability to handle stress of crowded environments such as passing other dogs teams in a hallway without visiting or being reactive, sitting or laying down within three feet of other dogs, walking on a loose leash within two feet of other dogs, siting rather than barging out doorways while her owner carries a cup of water and more. Congrats to Rose, John and Casey! To learn how your dog can earn their Advanced Canine Good Citizen title, contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152.








Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Michigan Dog Training

Casey in group setting

Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Michigan Dog Training

Casey waits at door instead of barging outside

Exciting Group Classes at Michigan Dog Training!


Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan has updated its group class descriptions to make them more clear as to content and pre-requisites. We’ve also added or made the following exciting changes:

* Added a Puppy 2 class for the pups who attended Puppy 1. This class is largely taught off leash, hence the reason why pups must attend a Puppy 1 class prior, to ensure they have the right temperament and socialization in place to be able to be off leash with older puppies. The Puppy Classes are patterned off from Veterinarian Behaviorist Ian Dunbar’s very successful puppy classes. Additionally, after completing Puppy 2, pups are ready to be evaluated for the American Kennel Club’s S.T.A.R. Puppy achievement. for which MDT staff are Puppy S.T.A.R. Evaluators.

* Added a Puppy Ultimate package which saves folks $27 if they sign up for the Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 at the same time as a package rather than independently.  We want to help you get your puppy started off on the “right paw” to learn things the right way, the first time.  Therefore, we want to reward you for your commitment to your puppy by offering an incentive.

* Took out the requirement of a basic manners obedience course for the Nosework class as we don’t mind high drive out of control dogs for learning Nosework. It’s actually helpful if the dog doesn’t know a lot of obedience when learning Nosework because the dog is more willing to work independent of the handler.

*Put the popular Remote Manners class back on the list along with two options for folks who already have an approved remote training collar and only need a group class and an option for folks to save $15.00 by buying the remote collar from us when signing up for the class.

* Put the amazing Circus Dog class (tricks and fun agility) back on the list.  It’s a fun outlet for dogs and owners alike and a great way for owners to “Do More With Your Dog” as MDT Staff are Certified Trick Dog Instructors via International Trick Dog Instructor, Celebrity Dog Trainer and multi-times Author Kyra Sundance.

*Added an Advanced Manners group class that prepares dog teams to be evaluated for the American Kennel Club’s new title Advanced Canine Good Citizen in the Community for which MDT staff are CGC and ACGC Evaluators.

MDT has also added an easier to use drop down menu for students to pay online for classes after they fill out the registration form. June class dates will be posted on May 9th, 2014.  So check here for class offerings and dates.  Exciting things are happening at Michigan Dog Training so join the fun! For more information, contact MDT at 734-634-4152.